Molly A. Kalish and Vasiliki Maseli
Poster presentation outlining a retrospective study conducted in order to better understand the needs of Maine residents and provide the appropriate oral health care in the future.
Background and Overview: Dental caries is a progressive, irreversible microbial disease affecting the hard tissues of the tooth. It is the most prevalent chronic disease affecting the human race. Once it occurs, its manifestations persist throughout life even when the lesion is treated. It usually begins soon after the teeth erupt into the oral cavity, thus, it is a post eruptive disease. It affects people of both genders, all races, all ages, and all socio- economic groups. Currently there is limited research regarding the prevalence of caries in the state of Maine, particularly for the adult population. The presence of caries is a major oral health indicator and further research is needed in this area in order to provide better oral health care, especially in the rural areas. Much of the literature focuses on caries prevalence in children, particularly from a study called the New England Children’s Amalgam Trial. A five year follow-up of this study revealed high risk children continuing to develop new caries even after semiannual dental care. This finding is alarming and it makes one wonder how the adult population is fairing with caries development as well. In order to bridge this gap in the literature and determine a more accurate picture of caries prevalence within the state of Maine, this ongoing retrospective study is designed to analyze and record caries prevalence among the patient population at the UNE Dental Clinic using past patient dental records. The DMFT and DMFS indices are epidemiological tools used to measure and classify caries. These two tools were the focus of the data analysis throughout this study. This initial investigation into the caries prevalence of Maine is only the foundation for future research and more definitive conclusions on the state of Maine’s adult oral health.